I recently sat with my mom in the doctors office (my mom is 83) she told the doctor she was very upset about being a burden to her children. I knew she had been feeling bad about about all the trips up to her house to help her out when she fell and fractured 5 ribs and the the trips to the ER to help stabilize a rapid heart beat. She and my father (who passed away 2 years ago from colon cancer) were and are fiercely independent. I know she wants desperately to stay in her beautiful cozy home as long as she can. All five of us children would like to see that she gets that wish also. My father wanted to die at home and because of hard work and boundless love from siblings, friends and incredible hospice care he got his wish. What I wish for my mom to know is this. Yes I am older and do get a bit tired or cranky but would I be anywhere else. Heck no! I chose to move back to be close to my parents as they age. What I would like my mom to know is I love her boundlessly. Not just for bearing 5 children but raising incredible children who are loving and caring. How could I begin to thank her for the times she nursed us through chicken pox, measles, mumps, cuts and bruises, broken hearts, the list is endless. For me in particular when I had my son and he was just three months old we had no second car, I had no car seat, no high chair, no stroller. I was stranded every day in a small two bedroom apartment. My mom would show up out of the blue load me and my son in the car and take us to buy a stroller. She would take me to get a hamburger at McDonald’s and that was like steak to a 19 year old,broke, frightened mother. After a painful divorce my mom and dad took me and my son in. Mom babysat while I worked, she baked cookies and listened while I poured out my broken heart to her. She made me belly laugh, she made wonderful dinners and we would go for long walks together. There is one moment in particular that reminds me of how much love she poured out to us children. When I moved in to my folks house with my son, it was after a very bad, violent break up of my marriage. I came home one night from work exhausted and scared. I had lost everything I owned in the divorce. I came home so sad and my mother had made my bed, pulled back the sheets and in that simple act I have never in my life felt so loved and nurtured. I knew then everything would be OK. Do I owe her yes! Do I want to be here for her you bet! My parents were far from perfect but I do know without a doubt that we were very much loved and that love shines through all the time everyday. Yes, I and my brother and sisters will be there for my mom it’s what true love is all about. It’s about saying thanks for all she and dad have given us.
When I think about living like an artist I think I will have to let go of most of the incessant chatter of electronic devises that bombard my mind with repetitive, soul stealing, heart robbing negativity that pounds relentlessly away at the brain exhausting any creativity or hope for that matter. No I am not anti-electronics just less of them.
When I start to live like an artist I will hear the wind making its way down the canon through the gnarly twisted pinions. I will hear the small rosy finches chattering at the feeder. I will notice the black and yellow orioles that grace us only for a month on their way north for the summer. I will wonder how they know its time to leave my feeder and continue on to the tall pines and mountain lakes in the northern woods of Canada. To live like an artist is to wonder if you can hear the grass grow. It is to wonder if I can find the right color red rose in my palette or the perfect purple of the sunset. It’s to show the world through my creative lens what I see. It is to awaken the world to a different vision of how life is or could be. It is to awaken the hearts of men or maybe just ourselves.
To live like an artist is to throw away what I know and to feel what I don’t know. Its to pick up a brush load it with thick sky blue paint and lay it on the canvas with wanton abandonment. To live like an artist is to let the heart guide the hand. To live like an artist I will try to live each day in thoughtful meditation about Gods will for me. I will try to curb my self-criticism and doubt. If my art brings an awareness of the world or self-awareness to me then being an artist is worth the time.
I will continue as an artist to paint, to write, to photograph, with reckless abandon because it is in those soul-stirring creations that I can hear the crimson of the rose petals, the changing sky at sunset and the grass growing beneath my feet.
An artist hears these things. The artist soul has to be set free to create. If we keep our minds and hearts in “societal check” we lose our vision and hearing of unseen. They will fade away just like the edges of the earth shrouded in fog. All us were born with the instinct to create. We are the manifestation of God’s creation. When we create things the soul begins speaking to the canvas and art is born. To knit a sweater, to decorate our homes, to photograph your daughter or son or the autumn leaves, to paint a canvas, these are the manifestations of the creative person we were born to be.
We are artists finding our “brush” our palette is our self, our world.
I will choose to be an artist not because it is easy, but because it frees my heart to hear. It frees my heart to see. It frees my heart to heal.
To be an artist is to hear the sunset, to paint it any color I choose because that’s how I see it… as an artist……We often hope that the world can see through our eyes for just a moment…..
Being a native of Colorado I am of course partial to my state. Beautiful sky, great weather and scenery that can’t be beat. As an interior design consultant, this weeks field trip is to downtown Pueblo, Colorado to visit the local antique stores on Union Avenue and to have a nice lunch near the river walk. One of my new favorite stores is Cotton’s Antique Mall. I discovered this great store while shopping for a couple of pieces of furniture for a local restaurant that I have been helping update their decor. This lovely antique mall is located at 214 S. Union Ave, in Pueblo, Colorado. The staff are very warm, outgoing and helpful. The building is a gorgeous turn of the century building with restored hardwood floors and the space inside is very open and inviting. I found a bunch of great items for sale and highly recommend Cotton’s Antique Mall. This antique mall will be one of my favorite “bring guests to” places in down town Pueblo. I am so glad that the “managers” of downtown Pueblo have seen the importance of saving these gorgeous brick and stone buildings. Combined with the Pueblo River Walk as well as the fun stores along Union Avenue.
There is something for everyone!
Today was an amazing day. Bright blue Colorado skies and a warm 74 degrees outside. I have been reading a book by Christine Valters Painter, an oblate benedictine monk. I discovered her books online and ordered three of them right away. These books are about spirit and art. They are holy and well written. In the book: “The Artist’s Rule” A twelve-Week Journey, are various exercises involving meditation, sacred readings and art exercises. My sister, mother and I had an art workshop today based on an exercise from the book. (page 32 from the book to be exact). In the exercise you begin with three sheets of art paper, we chose 300# watercolor paper. We spent a few moments in prayer before we started and then added some Gregorian chant music with meditation. We then wrote one question on the back of our pre-cut watercolor paper and turned them over and began the exercise of painting with colors that we were drawn too. We finished with collage being very careful not to look at our questions about life written on the backs of the artwork. After a few hours of letting our collages dry we made coffee and then looked at our collages together, talking about what we learned, the questions we asked and how our collages were related in some way to our questions about life. We were very moved by the discussion and what we learned about each other. We also learned that in some way all of our endeavors are related. Our art, our spirituality, our questions about life are somehow all interrelated. The photos below show our collages and below each one is the question that was written on the back of the collage. It is utterly amazing how spirit and art work together when we take time to experience it. I recommend this book and this exercise. This was so much fun and so relaxing!
I have been absent for a while from my blog and today seemed like a fitting day to get back to it. Especially being Easter weekend. I lost my dad January 9th at 5:38 P.M. to colon cancer. It has been a very long couple of years caring for him. My family (I have 3 other sisters and a brother) were all there to help my mother who is 82 take care of him in his last days of life. I cannot think of a better gift than to be with someone and care for them in their last days. My dad was an artist, a spiritualist and a naturalist. He believed that God existed in all things and he loved to spend hours talking and writing about the connection between God and nature, God and art and he was constantly growing spiritually. He was an avid Richard Rohr reader. He was not a perfect person but he was always striving to better himself. My dad set the path for his children on how to die with dignity. I lost part of myself the last two years of caretaking but I also found myself. I found that when you love someone so much, you can do most anything for them. I often see elderly people alone and wonder who will take care of them in their last days. I am so thankful for the honor. My siblings also feel the same way. Dad will live on in his artwork, in our visits and in our excursions outdoors. I will be back now with my blog sharing stories about great homes and shops. I have also gained a new appreciation about the importance of our homes and what it’s like to be able to die at home with your personal things around you and your family to care for you. I would be remiss in not saying how absolutely wonderful our hospice care nurses were. (Sangre De Cristo Hospice) We could not have done this without their constant care and helping. I would like to say that during my dad’s last hours he was talking to people we could not see and pointing upwards to the sky as if he was trying to share with us his journey. At one point he even whispered, “this dying process is fascinating.” (ever the scientist) In dad’s room was a beautiful crucifix nailed to an old piece of driftwood, his favorite watercolors and his favorite books. He would listen to music and just contemplate. My brother-in-law would read poetry to him from his favorite books. I put a bird feeder outside the window and the first day no birds came (I cried so hard because it was the only thing I could give my dad for Christmas that I thought he would enjoy.) But miraculously on Christmas day the feeder was filled with beautiful songbirds. As we took care of his needs we could hear the birds and watch them. It was a gift from God. When my dad drew his last breath it became so real to all of us that our bodies are just shells, that the soul spirit soars. My dad’s spirit lives in his beautiful watercolors he left us, our love of nature and our love of all things spiritual! I know that my dad is all around and I am thankful to God for sending his Son so that we can be free. None of us are perfect neither was my dad. But thankfully Easter is a time to reflect on our lives and experience the rebirth and to be aware of the high price Christ paid. Happy Easter it’s great to be back!
I love re-purposing stuff to the point it becomes an obsession. A few weeks ago I was making some chili and I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the #2 tins when I was done emptying them out. I washed the tins out and then let them sit until I could think of some way to re-purpose them. Here’s the project just in time for Valentine’s Day and can be adapted for Easter. It’s a great craft project for a group or for children. (for children some of the process should be done ahead.) Here’s the project step by step. Let me know if you try it. I would love to see pictures of your done baskets.
Step One: Start with a clean can #2 or larger. Make sure the edges are free from sharp points. Spray inside and out with a soft white or light pink flat spray paint. ( I find that paper adheres to flat paint just a little bit better). Let tin dry thoroughly then figure out where you want to attache the handle. Use an awl to puncture the hole for the rivet. I put the edge of the tin on block of wood and punched inward towards the inside of the tin. Then I gently sand off the edges inside the tin so they don’t have sharp edges.
Step Two: I used card stock paper to decorate the outside of the tin using 3M adhesive spray. I also used vintage lace and paper cutouts to decorate the outside of the tin. When you are done with the outside you can also spray with a mat paper preserver spray or a mat gel medium.
Step Three: For the handle I used two strips of card stock glued together to make it a little stronger I then decorated it with antique buttons and lace and distressed it a bit with a brown ink. Punch a hole in the ends of each one using the awl again. I used scrap booking pink rivets for card making to attach my handles. I loved the from the outside and the handles move.
Step Four: Fill with your favorite treats or used for Valentine’s day cards.
I believe there is hope in everything we do or experience. This is a mixed media collage in a scrappy style. Enjoy! My artwork can be seen on etsy and ebay. Just follow the links on the blog. Have a great day today.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how our minds affect our attitudes. The other day I let a guy in my lane of traffic who had been waiting for a while with his signal on to change lanes. It was just a simple decision. No doubt many of us were out Christmas shopping. I let him in and he waved a grateful thanks to me. I started wondering what the day would be like if he passed that courtesy on to someone else and if all of us went a little bit out of our way to be kind to someone else. We are living in some very trying times and a little bit of kindness and courtesy can go along way to make someones day. You never know who and how your act of kindness might affect someone. I can be very hard on myself too especially if my inner critic is turned on. We are blessed with incredibly sensitive minds and they can be used in a bad way or a good way. I am going to start training mine to be a little more kind and open to other people including myself. With the tragedy in Connecticut and others around the world it would be nice if we think about how we are living our day to day lives with each other. Life is short and you never know what’s going to change. Not to mention it is ‘one day at a time’. So I say let’s keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year and when we are out there shopping frantically let’s just remember it’s just a thing, an item, etc. Let’s remember to keep the reason for the season in our heads. “As I think so I am.”
I recently completed a large full size collage of a tall retro blonde girl (see previous post). Two of my sisters emailed me to tell me it was a self-portrait. I have been thinking about this for a several days. I decided that yes it was a sub-conscience self-portrait. I think one of the things I love about collage is that it reflects my life. I am bits of pieces of many things put together to make me. I love collage because collage has room for mistakes and imperfections. Aha, could this be me also? For many years after a very traumatic first marriage I had what I called my: “dark side”. It was a side of me that would be very sad or feel very bleak. After suffering anxiety for many years I decided I would find a good therapist and start delving into the bleakness that I was feeling. What I learned and have been learning is that trauma not dealt with comes back over and over especially when you don’t expect it. For years I wanted to be involved in domestic violence shelters but would put the phone down and wait another year. Thanks to my being brave enough to go into therapy for post traumatic stress I can now go into a shelter and speak to groups of twenty and thirty women who are all ages and going through the very steps that I went through. My trip to the past has at times been very painful and sad. The good news, it didn’t kill me to feel the emotion that was buried. What it did do was uncover a brave, loving, creative woman who is facing life fully now instead of half way living. Things aren’t perfect for me and they never will be. Things aren’t perfect for any of us but the difference is that I am willing to keep trying over and over to make a better life. I made this altar box of me a few years ago when I was beginning to look back at my life. When I found this picture of me as this happy little girl I felt like embracing her and loving life. My collage is an extension of my bits and pieces of life that continue to make me a whole person. Through my therapy and my willingness to go the darker secrets of my past I have allowed a huge ray of light to come in. That light is the most valuable gift I have given myself. The best part, is that no matter what choices I am making, I am present in my own mind! Here’s a quote from one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickenson:
“Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.”
Have a wonderful hopeful day everyone!
On my way to garage and estate sales then back to the studio to paint furniture!
Mixed media collage with layers of 1960’s journals, acrylic paints, hand-crocheted lace and vintage linens. Piece measures 48″ x 24″.
Today is one of those days when I am blissfully happy practicing my art. I recently spoke to an older artist that I frame for and she was not working at her art. She was depressed. She is an amazing award-winning watercolorist who is going blind from macular degeneration. She is being robbed day by day of her ability to see color and line. I told her she needed to paint no matter what, because artists will die on the inside if they are not practicing their art. It is our spirit, our God-given gift to create and make things. So on days like this when I wake up feeling sorry for myself for whatever reason, I think of my friend and her need to paint. As the old quote goes: “It’s not about the outcome, it’s about the process.” The dirtier my studio, the more paint on my fingernails, the breeze coming through the windows, the rusty metal I’m saving for God knows what are a sign that I am happy and doing what I love. No matter who tries to stifle us! So here’s to artists everywhere, a big giant bouquet of daisies.